You have problems cutting your dog’s nails? That’s okay because you are not alone. Many dog owners have concerned with cutting their dog nails as their dogs very much dislike nail-cutting sessions. Some dog owners even give up the task instead. However, for humans, long nails do not really harm us, but for dogs it’s a different story. Overgrown nails in a long-term will damage the joints and cause pain for your dog. When nails are overgrown, it is even more different to touch his nails, let alone to cut them. So, there must be a way to help our dogs get used to nail-trimming, right at the beginning, when their nails are still in a desirable length.
Why dogs don’t let you cut their nails?
Before digging into the Hows, we want to briefly talk about the Whys. Knowing the reason behind your dog’s fear of nail cutting is essential. If you know the causes, then you can remove them easily.
Touching and cutting nails are weird and uncomfortable. Let’s be honest, even for us, if someone suddenly grabs your hand and intends to cut your nails, you would probably be freaked out too. Dogs are just the same. If you do not mentally prepare your dog before hand, he will get anxious and nervous. When dogs don’t know what is going to happen to them next, they tend to run away from the situation. This could be why your dog keeps avoiding nail-cutting sessions, or becomes aggressive when you try to do it.
Nail clippers are not a friendly object at first sight. Dogs do not know what a nail clipper is. And the metal tool sometimes does not appear to be a toy to them. So putting a nail clipper straight to their nails can be threatening to them, which potentially is another reason why they dislike nail cutting.
How to fix this?
There are various ways you can do to make a difference.
Give your dog a slow start.
Before introducing him or her to the nail clipper, make sure that your dog has already been used to you touching and holding her paws. Some dogs are not used to that yet, so it is crucial to train them. First, you can trying touching the shoulder. At all times, be sure that your dog is relaxed and comfortable. Treats are extremely helpful to boost her mood and release her tension. After the shoulder touch, if your dog is still relaxed, continue to work down the legs and gradually to the paws. For each step, take some time to notice her mood and behavior to assure that she is still in relaxation. Now, you can try holding her paws in your hand. During every nail cutting session, you’ll need to hold her paws for a while so she needs to get familiarized with this. Once holding paws works out fine, try touching her nails. The last step is to press her nails in order to put some pressure on them. The reason for this is to mimic the pressure during trims, so that when you do the actual trimming, your dog is already used to the pressure.
Introduce the clipper to your dog.
Again, your dog may not be familiar with the clipper just yet. It is necessary to introduce the clipper to her first before you start trimming her nails with the clipper. For the first few time, present the clipper to her, then give her treats. By doing this, you are creating a positive association between your dog and the clipper. After a few time, once you see that your dog is okay with the clipper around, try putting the clipper close to the paws, and eventually touching the nails. If your dog is relaxed and comfortable with the clipper getting close to the nails, you can move on to the next step.
Let’s put all together.
So you have tried holding the paws, and also introduced the clipper to your dog. Now let’s put everything together. You can hold your dog’s paw and put the clipper near the nails as if you are doing an actual clipping, but do not clip the nail yet. Watch your dog’s reactions and see if she is anxious. If she is not, you can try clipping her nail a bit at a time. And there you go. Go slowly, and only cut just a little bit at once. You would not want to cut into the quick, as well as not to make your dog uncomfortable. Additionally, do not forget to give your dog compliments and good treats during the session.
If your dog is too energetic….
Some dogs just have too much energy that they cannot stay still for a nail cutting session. In that case, one recommendation is to let your dog play to drain out his energy before hand. Swimming is the most suitable activity because the water not only helps your dog to relax and drains his energy, but also softens the nails so it will be easier to trim afterwards. Another option is to combine nail cutting with bathing. After playtime, you can give your dog a bath. Bathing can be soothing for dogs, and the water, again, helps to soften the nails, so trimming nails after bathing is totally reasonable and more doable.
In short, it is not uncommon to see dogs dislike nail cutting. There are various reasons for this which have been explained above, so you can check them out to see if any of those is your case. One thing to keep in mind is that patience is all it takes to make things happen. We totally understand that it can be difficult to train your dog to like something that he dislikes, but you cannot omit nail cutting anyways. It would become a painful loop later on: as nails are overgrown, they cause pain and damages to your dog, which makes nail cutting even more unfavorable. So, we are trying our best to prevent this from happening. We hope that you find these tips helpful, and hope that this article has resolved your concern.